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Fedor Emelianenko inks multi-fight deal with Bellator for ‘retirement tour’

Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Legendary heavyweight Fedor Emelianenko has inked an exclusive multi-fight, multi-year contract to finish his career with Bellator MMA.

Bellator MMA president Scott Coker made the announcement on Friday night following Bellator 222 from New York City.

“It’s a multi-fight deal, multi-year [deal] and this is going to be his retirement tour,” Coker said about Emelianenko at the post fight press conference. “I think we’d like to take him to a lot of countries and cities that maybe haven’t seen him in a long time or have never seen him. It’s going to be fun when we roll this thing out.”

Widely regarded as the greatest heavyweight in mixed martial arts history, Emelianenko made a name for himself while fighting in Japan where he was the PRIDE Fighting Championships heavyweight champion. During his years with the promotion, Emelianenko racked up one of the gaudiest win streaks in the sport while earning victories over the likes of Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira, Mirko Cro Cop and Mark Coleman.

In more recent years, Emelianenko has faced plenty of ups and downs but still managed to put on some exhilarating performances while most recently making his way to the finals of the Bellator Heavyweight Grand Prix before falling to Ryan Bader.

Now Emelianenko will look to showcase his skills for Bellator MMA for a few more fights before calling it a career.

”My strong friendship and respect for Scott Coker made reaching a contract extension a simple process,” Emelianenko said in a statement. “Bellator is my home – I look forward to helping Bellator continue to grow and reach its full potential as the world’s top MMA promotion.”

Coker couldn’t divulge when Emelianenko would return to action but he definitely has ideas on some potentially fun fights for the Russian icon when he books his next matchup.

One name in particular that was brought up on Friday night was a potential fight against former UFC heavyweight champion Josh Barnett. He was previously scheduled to face Emelianenko in the now defunct Affliction promotion but the fight was scrapped when Barnett was denied a fight license by the California State Athletic Commission due to a failed drug test.

“That’s definitely one of the names we’ve approached with Fedor,” Coker said about Barnett, who signed with Bellator back in April “He’s fine with it. That would be a timing issue. I’m not sure if that’s going to be the very first fight but I think we have a great roster that he can fight.

“I think [Quinton] “Rampage” Jackson versus Fedor, I think of Josh Barnett, there’s a couple other fighters out there that just come to my mind.”

Emelianenko has gone 2-2 thus far in his Bellator MMA career with wins over Frank Mir and Chael Sonnen and losses to Bader and Matt Mitrione.

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